With Christ, all things are possible. From impossible to Godpossible.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vacation Edition Musings

Ole Boy and I "snuck" away on a vacation to East Tennessee and North Carolina.   We went a little later than we normally do this year because last year, the color was still mostly green.  Bryson City, NC, was first on our agenda.   Travel on Wednesday was perfect...sunny and warm!   However, the next day, our train ride was anything but sunny and warm!   We left for Gatlinburg after the ride, and it began to rain.

Bryson City, NC:
Our train ride was fun but COLD!
It finally warmed up on the second half of the journey.
Nantahala  National Forest
Nantahala National Forest
(The train stopped here for a short layover.)

I snapped a lot of pictures, but between the jostling of the tracks and the movement of the train (and the limited talents of the photographer) I didn't get a lot of clear pictures while we were moving.  Here are a few:




These flowers were at the depot.
I was a little surprised to see them!

Bryson City, NC

It rained most of the day Friday.   We did get up before daybreak and go to Cades Cove.  It was very overcast with a few sprinkles here and there.   By the time we were leaving, we saw a baby bear in the top of a very tall tree, and it was really beginning to rain.   I took a few pictures, but between the rain and the darkness of the morning, the little guy looked like a mere shadow in the top of the tree.   He finally came down, and I took a few more pictures.   Not knowing where Mama Bear was, I didn't get too close.  Some people didn't care about Mama Bear, and they got in my way, so I didn't get to take too many pictures.   To say I whined about those folks would be an understatement.

Same little bear, Cades Cove
  Baby Bear...he didn't turn out too clear, 
but you can see the little cutie.
Little Bear,  Cades Cove

More From Cades Cove:
Cades Cove
The color was past peak, but still pretty,
prettier in some places than in others.
Cades Cove
The not so cute....
Gooblers and Gobblers, Cades Cove
Gooblers and Gobblers
We were blessed with beautiful color in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg  Bypass
After seeing how past peak North Carolina was, I was 
a little concerned about what we'd see in Tennessee.

Gatlinburg Bypass
I needn't have worried!
Gatlinburg Bypass
And this is one of my favorite places in Gatlinburg:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Newsday Tuesday: The Musing Edition

 We had some news in my neighborhood yesterday…my credit union, the one I use that is located a mere quarter mile from my house, was robbed yesterday.   The guy handed the teller a note that stated he had a bomb strapped to his body.  They gave him an undisclosed amount of money; he left on foot…and went to my little neck of the woods.   I live in Small Town, Alabama…these things just don’t happen every day!   I consoled myself last night with the thought that surely he wouldn’t still be hanging around the ‘hood with the ABI and FBI, police and sheriff deputies after him.   He was.   He was picked up about 10 hours after the deed a mere short walking distance from my house.  

Sometimes I surprise myself at the “news” videos I will watch.   Afterwards, I ask myself why I watched it…but I never have an answer.    And if it’s not enough that I watch the video, I’ll read the comments, and if I’m in the right mood, I’ll make a few comments, too.   From the comments, I have realized that there are people in this world who are bona fide nuts.     I’ve also learned a few things.  

Some of those videos stay in my mind for a while, like the Chinese toddler who was hit by two vehicles.   I have no words for what I saw…but the images are still in my head.  Disturbing.   If you haven’t seen that clip, you are better off not knowing that these things go on in our world.

I watched the video of Gaddafi being captured.   I really couldn’t tell anything at all about that piece of raw footage.   There are people who think he shouldn’t have been killed by the people he’d terrorized all these years…I think he reaped what he sowed, just as each and every one of us will.

I am not watching Dancing with the Stars this season.   I rarely watched a full season of it, but this time, I couldn’t stomach of the contestants, and as it is with every season, I didn’t even know who half of them were.   Stephen Davey said something on Wisdom for the Heart this morning that has stuck in my mind:  “We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance.”   Enough said.

I don’t watch much TV…most of my news comes from the internet.   As I peruse the news sites, I can’t find any good news, only more reasons for me to keep in mind that I live in a crazy world, a very crazy world.   With all that’s going on outside my box, I would not be surprised if Jesus’s return isn’t so much closer than we all realize.   I wonder what I’d do differently if I knew that He was coming back before the end of the year?   Would I sit around surfing the ‘net, or watching The Biggest Loser, or worrying about my diet…or would I be doing all I could to make sure my loved ones got their acts together?    There are things we shouldn’t take for granted, having a tomorrow is one of them, we aren’t promised tomorrow.

This week in History:

v  The telegraph turns 150 years old.
v  Pablo Picasso was born in 1881.
v  The New York City Subway opened in 1904.
v  In 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation.
v  “96 Tears” was the number one hit in 1966.
v  President McKinley’s assassin is executed in 1901.
v  The Statute of Liberty was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886.
v  Congress enforces prohibition in 1919.
v  In 1984, an infant receives a baboon heart.
v  In 1972, President Nixon suspends bombing in Vietnam, and in 1973, he vetoed the War Powers Resolution.
v  British naval fleet attacks Norfolk, Virginia in 1775.
v  In 1945, the United Nations was formally established.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vacation Last Year....

I wonder what my beloved Great Smoky Mountains look like this year?
Here's what they looked like last year... 



Near Mount Airy/Pilot Mountain, NC

Near Mount Airy/Pilot Mountain, NC




Virginia (That's Ole Boy moseying along.)




Mingus Mill
Oconaluftee, NC

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Modern Day Miracle...

Part 3
Read Part One:  "Death Answers to God, and He Said No" 
Read Part Two:   "Memphis Miracle"

In 2005, some 17 years after the accident, Ron began often having double vision.   He went to an ophthalmologist, who informed him that he had 20/15 vision, explaining that his eyes were better than normal.  Having no explanation for the double vision, he sent Ron for an MRI. 

After the MRI was complete, the tech and Ron were looking at the results, and the tech turned to Ron with a stunned look on his face and asked if he’d ever had a head injury.   Ron told him, “Yes, some years ago.  Why?”    The tech pointed to a black spot on his X-ray and replied, “Nothing.”   Ron said, “Nothing?  Man, it looks like something!”   The tech said, “That’s what I’m telling you, it’s nothing there, because it’s nothing there!”

Ron asked, “Nothing?  Like no brain?”   The tech nodded, still looking at Ron with that stunned look.   Ron asked him what that part of the brain controlled, and the tech told him “Motoring skills.”    Ron asked, “Like moving, walking, running, jumping?”   The tech nodded, looking Ron straight in the eye in disbelief, and said “Yes.”   Ron was silent for a long moment, then he got tickled and began to laugh.  He said, “Well, now!  This is kind of crazy!   I move around pretty good now, and I don’t even have the brains to do it!”  The tech almost smiled, but his stunned, astonished look kept him from it.


Ron’s last word on this story:   "Now try to tell me God is nothing but Awesome!"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Memphis Miracle

Part 2
Read Part One:  "Death Answers to God, and He Said No"

August 2, 1988:
The night of the accident, Pastor Neil Silverberg and friend Kevin Mullins drove Jane to Memphis.    Ron was completely comatose, a state in which he would remain for over three weeks, and continue in a semi-comatose condition for another two weeks.    The doctors were not giving any hope that he would ever wake up.   During this time, friends and family were only allowed to visit in 10 or 15 minute intervals; however, the nurses noticed that when Jane talked to Ron, his vital signs would improve.   They began allowing her to stay for hours.   When she played recordings of their children, five year old Mandi and three year old Marty, talking and singing, his vital signs would really elevate. 

Much prayer was said for Ron and for his family.   Within in a few days of his arrival in Memphis, Ron’s dad, Paul, and his mother, Jeri, arrived.   Jeri and Jane went to the chapel and prayed every day.   One day, they were in the chapel with several others, when a young black man, dressed in all white, knelt down in front of Jeri and asked, “May I pray for you, Mama?”   She replied, “Of course, you can!”  He prayed, got up, waved his hand and said, “Now there is Peace.”  Then he left.   Jeri later looked for the man, but he could not be found.   She wondered if an angel had visited her.

Sitting with Ron every day, Jane knew he was responding to her, but when she relayed that to the doctors, no one would believe her.  They told her that these were just involuntary movements, but Jane knew differently.   He was responding appropriately to her requests for a hand squeeze or other simple gestures.  When Ron did fully awake, they performed another scan.  Family friends Will McFarlane, Kevin Mullins, and Parke Crisler were in the room when the doctor told Jane that there were still absolutely no changes.   At that point, Jane became a little exasperated, and told Ron that he’d better do something to let the doctor know that she wasn’t nuts.  Ron lifted his hand and gave a short wave to the doctor, and the room erupted in joy!  The doctor was somewhat stunned by Ron’s reaction to Jane’s request, but Jane simply said, “I told you he was responding!”  

Throughout the whole ordeal, Ron and Jane had great support from family and friends.   During the six weeks in Memphis, there was only one night that Jane didn’t have a church member with her.  Her parents and church family watched over the children, doing all they could do to keep Mandi and Marty’s lives as normal as possible.   Jane was still in Memphis on Mandi’s first day of school, even though it broke her heart to be away, Jane knew she didn’t have to worry about her children.

In Memphis, though he was waking up, Ron still faced a long road of recovery.   He was paralyzed on his left side, he still had a tracheotomy, and much of his memory was gone.   He had to relearn everything, including how to swallow food.  He was soon transferred to Spain Rehabilitation Center in Birmingham, Alabama, for rehabilitation.  Over the next months, Ron went from a wheelchair, to crutches, finally to a cane, slowly improving.   He then spent six months working with Timber Ridge Restoration Ranch in Benton, Arkansas, to restore his memory. 

The road was a difficult one, and even though Ron was making progress, there were times when Jane still had doubt, heartache, confusion, and even anger.   It was as if the person she had known since she was 13 was gone, and someone who only resembled the man she’d married had taken his place.  Over the next two years, Jane came to realize that her idea of the path for Ron’s recovery and God’s plan were different.   She decided in her heart that even if Ron didn’t get any better than he was at that moment, God was still God, and she chose to walk with Him.  When she accepted those things she couldn’t change, Ron’s condition improved even more.

To talk to him today, you wouldn’t know that Ron ever had severe brain damage.  He walks, talks, drives, plays a mean guitar, dreams of driving his Harley again, and praises his Lord daily. 

L-R Jeremy (son-in-law), Mandi, Jane, Ron, Kara (daughter-in-law), Marty

But that’s not the end of the story.   There is one more little thing that God did…something that proves without a shadow of doubt that Ron is a walking, talking miracle.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Death Answers to God, and He Said No

PhotobucketThis is my cousin, Ron Coleman, dancing with his beautiful daughter, Mandi, at her wedding last year.   There is medical evidence to say this is not possible; but as we know, with God, all things are possible. 

The year was 1988.  It was a stormy August night, 30 year old Ron was working with an electrical contracting company at a Florence department store.  In his own words: 

“We had been working at night after business hours; this night I was working up in the ceiling on top of a scaffold, somehow that 277 voltage put the chomp on me. I don't know how long it had me or how it all actually happened, but I fell out of the WalMart ceiling and landed on the back my head.  At that moment I lay there, not breathing, bleeding from my mouth and nose, and a hole was blown out of my right index finger to the bone from where the electricity left my body after passing through from one hand and out the other.”

The father of one of Ron’s co-workers was the pastor of a church near the job site.  The co-worker called his dad and told him that Ron had fallen and his life was quickly slipping away.  The pastor arrived before the paramedics, and immediately began to pray.   Kneeling beside Ron, he said, “Ron, you will live, in the name of Jesus.”   Looking around at Ron’s co-workers, the pastor noticed that all of them had laid their hands on Ron in prayer.  Ron began to breathe again.

Friend and foreman of the job, Bill, called Ron’s wife, Jane, at 10:45 p.m., to tell her that Ron had been hurt, and was being transported to Humana Hospital (formerly Colonial Manor) on Cloyd Boulevard, the hospital nearest the site of the accident.  Before she left for the hospital, she called her pastor’s wife, Shelly Silverberg, and asked her to begin to pray (by the next day, there was a prayer chain formed by people in many states for Ron).  Jane beat the ambulance to the hospital, and watched helplessly as they wheeled Ron in, realizing that he was unconscious.  After an initial evaluation, the doctors told her that Ron needed a tracheotomy, and though he was not conscious, he still responded to pain.   The hospital had Jane sign a release form holding them not liable in case Ron moved while they performed the procedure, because any movement could kill him.

The situation was dire.  Ron was critically injured from his 20 foot fall, strong storms were rolling through, and the CAT scan machine at Colonial Manor was broken.   The doctors there performed the tracheotomy and transported him by ambulance to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital (ECM), but their CAT scan machine had been damaged by storms earlier in the evening.    They loaded Ron back into the ambulance and sent him across the river to Helen Keller Hospital.   On the way, they were stopped by a train.    Helen Keller was able to do the CAT scan; but had no doctor available to read it.   Ron was loaded back into the ambulance to be transported back to ECM, but before they arrived, they were stopped by yet another train. 

When they finally arrived back at ECM, one of the pastors of Calvary Fellowship, Parke Crisler, was waiting for them, along with many of Ron and Jane’s fellow church members.   Parke worked in the CAT lab, and he was present while the neurologist, Dr. Ray, looked at the scan.   Parke told Neil Silverberg, the senior pastor, “We all need to be praying and praying hard, because without prayer, Ron is not long for this world!” 

Dr. Ray came out to tell Jane that Ron was in very serious condition, and needed to be transported to a head trauma center immediately.   He very matter-of-factly told Jane that he wasn’t sure that Ron would make it there alive, and if he survived the injuries, he would be either a vegetable or severely brain damaged.  

After Dr. Ray gave Jane the grim update on Ron, she was overwhelmed by fear and anger.  Her words: 

“When Dr. Ray told me he was going to be severely brain damaged or a vegetable, I ran out of the room and through the halls.  Somehow, I found a door that led outside, and I was nearly yelling at God when I got out there.  I said, 'Why?!!  Why couldn't You just reach out Your hand and spare him?  He is a good man who loves You!   Why did you do this to him and our children?'   I heard, not really an audible voice, but it was audible in my spirit, and He said, 'Trust me, he is going to be ok.'  So I did! I never doubted that Ron would wake up.”

Because of the storms, they couldn’t transport him by air, so they loaded Ron back into the ambulance and headed toward the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis, Tennessee, a three hour journey.   On the way, and they had to stop twice to perform CPR.   In addition, he began to throw up.  In Corinth, Mississippi, they were finally able to airlift him to Memphis.

Death was commanded to relax its grip on Ron that night.  

Next:   Memphis

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Musings

Dear Three Day Weekend:  
Where did you run off to so fast?

How did you get here so quickly?

Dear Vacation:  
I can hardly wait to see you!

Dear Lady at WalMart:
If you’re going to gripe about the other shoppers, please 
do it so others don’t hear you…especially when you 
were doing the very same thing yourself.  

Dear Comcast:
All of your improvements have made you inferior.    Once upon a time, 
I could always depend on you to be available.   Now?   Not so much.

Dear Mount Sinai:
Why are you growing on the side of my nose?   
Really, I am not certain if you are a mountain or a third eye.

Dear Face:
You are acting like a teenager!  Please stop breaking out!!    What?   
Oh, yeah.   I guess I can’t call you a teenager with those lines…

Dear Diet:
Thank you!  I will not miss those seven pounds at all!

Dear Reader:
I am working on a true story that I promise will warm your heart 
and touch your soul.   It’s a three-parter.   Have some tissue ready.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Long term memory is working fine....

These days, with as much as I forget (which is uh-lot!) I remember some of the silliest things from years ago:

·      During my senior year in high school, I had an orange Gremlin.   That’s not hard to remember…that’s hard to forget!   But needless to say, there weren’t too many of them around…they were already obsolete when I had mine.   One night, while on my way home around midnight, a car got right on my bumper and tailed me down the mile stretch of road where my parents live.   I just assumed it was one of my friends being stupid.   When I whipped into my parents drive (the road curved perfectly into the drive by just cutting the wheel a little to the left), the other car missed the drive completely.  Any of my friends, even the (sometimes) stupid ones, would have known where I lived.   The car backed up and came down the drive.   It was a deputy sheriff.    I put my hands on my hips and informed him that he’d scared me nearly to death!   (I didn’t mind a little lie here and there when I was younger.   I don’t do that anymore.   Really.)    He stammered around and finally asked me if my car had been stolen, because he’d gotten a report that car like mine had been stolen.   I’m pretty sure he lied, too.  Who would steal an orange Gremlin?

·      I won’t mention that the kids in my family had all the classy cars:   Pinto, Vega, Gremlin.  There’s no need for you to know everything. 

·      We went through a short phase in High School where we used the expression “Hang Body Body,” referring to guys.   I believe Sharon originated it, but she left this world some years ago.   We also said, “Hang nosey nosey” about one or two guys; and truthfully, I’m not exactly sure what either of those terms meant…and I probably don’t want to know.   I remember lines used by guys (not pick up lines), such as Marcus saying “Bless me, ‘scuse me, SCAT!” when he sneezed, or Greg telling Wendell, “By the time I get through with you, Haskell won’t ask you ‘what happened?’  He’ll say, ‘How’d you ever get loose?’”

·      A little boy, Keith, in the ‘hood where I grew up once said, “Taj Mahal” to me as a way of saying goodbye.   I have used that term many, many times since then… just as I’ve often used “bless me, excuse me, scat!” over the years.

·      I got to school one day only to realize my shirt was on inside out.   The only reason I “realized” it was because Carol told me.

·      Marietta and Carolyn got into a fight in the hallway and they meant business.  Don’t ever get in the middle of a girl fight.   You just might lose a handful of hair, or a couple of teeth. 

·      Melissa threatened to beat me up, and I was really scared.   She didn’t, much to my relief.

It’s amazing how much I have retained from years and years ago, but have a hard time remembering where we ate this weekend.

I hope your Friday is lovely, 
and your weekend even lovelier!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Casting Pearls

Today, instead of Monday Musings,
I invite you to visit me at